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About the Union / Blogroll

The Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF) was formed in 2018 by Kate Fletcher, Lynda Grose, Timo Rissanen and Mathilda Tham (in alphabetical order).

The formation of the Union was brought about by the realization that over the last thirty years sustainability in fashion has been an industry-led movement and as such, has been constantly framed within business, without asking questions about the nature of business itself.

We recognized that this has severely narrowed approaches to fashion and sustainability, has widened the divide between commerce and the capacities of nature to support commercial activity and has resulted in more, not less, degradation of clothing makers and the earth. 

We questioned if business was truly capable of making the changes necessary to transform the industry and saw a need to steer a smarter better debate about fashion and sustainability.

We also recognized that researchers’ tradition of: seeking out truth; critical discourse; full disclosure; ontological thought, was desperately needed, and that researchers were better equipped to hold trust for the common good and the sector more broadly (of which the industry is one part).

We aim to provide language, action and modes of working that are precise in their critical identification of issues  and open ended in their responses, rather than muted by corporate risk analysis and closed to all but that which is actionable within the current sector.

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Local Assembly India

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Blogroll / Local Assemblies

We are glad to announce the first meeting of UCRF Local Assembly India which is convening online in the light of coronavirus restrictions.

This event is open to all, but please mark your presence here: https://forms.gle/AjLh94wxYxCRvQ8h9

Date: Saturday 29th August 2020
Time: 5pm – 5:40pm IST
Location: Zoom chat (Please download zoom and familiarise yourself with the App)

For meeting login details please email bvkdelhi at gmail.com

UCRF “Member of the Month” – Jackie May

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Blogroll / Member of the Month

UCRF is running a ‘Member of the Month’ feature on this blog, where a member, selected at random from the membership database, is sent five questions to give us all an overview of our members. Our second participant is Jackie May.

  • How would you sum up your research / practice?  

I launched Twyg in 2018 – a not-for-profit media organisation working at the intersection of fashion and sustainable development. The platform idea developed in reaction to my last corporate job, working on a publication whose business model promoted fast fashion and excessive consumption. I realised I was more passionate about doing the opposite: persuading consumers to slow down and make better choices. Twyg publishes stories and promotes experiences that aim to inform and inspire positive consumer changes. Twyg is principally aligned with the Sustainable Development goal 12, responsible consumerism and production, however, it is committed to all the other SDGs.  

Two years ago, when Twyg was launched, South African mainstream middle-class media was not addressing the serious fast-fashion challenges of climate change or fair labour practice, and concepts like slow fashion, sustainability and eco-consciousness did not feature. Although we’ve seen amazing growth in media and consumer interest in sustainable fashion, there is still much work to be done. One area that has started to emerge in the work on the platform, is the idea of regeneration. In Twyg’s stories and in our projects, we ask how does this repair what we’ve ruined?    

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UCRF “Member of the month” – Yamê Reis

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Blogroll / Member of the Month

UCRF is running a ‘Member of the Month’ feature on this blog, where a member, selected at random from the membership database, is sent five questions to give us all an overview of our members. First out is Yamê Reis.

Yamê Reis is a Brazilian sociologist and fashion designer. She is currently a coordinator and teacher at Istituto Europeo de Design in Rio, and is the founder of the International Forum Rio Ethical Fashion.

  • How would you sum up your research / practice?

As a fashion designer educator I see myself as a collaborator, a facilitator, and an activist for the change. Researching and practicing come together, we learn through building new products that are based in new materials, new models of production and business that promote welfare for the people and for the planet.

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Earth Day Open Letter

Blogroll / Open Letters

Dear friend and colleague in fashion,

Today, the 22nd of April 2020, is Earth Day. 

We, the Board of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion (UCRF), write to you as a person, a fellow human and fashion professional and we are approaching you with an appeal to let the first step post COVID-19 to be a solid step for the Earth. We approach you directly, without the filter of a company or organisation. We appeal to you to use this moment to reimagine what life and fashion can be when we plan it to exist within the limits of the Earth and with the health of all humans and co-species as the central purpose.

The Corona pandemic has taught us with brutal honesty how fragile, unstable and unfit for purpose our social and economic systems are. It has revealed that the logic of economic growth is an ideology that is deeply flawed. What good is an economy that breaks down when we just buy the necessities for day-to-day life? Food, shelter and health are surely the foundation of any economic system. The ideology of the growth economy, configured towards profit and extraction of resources, does not sustain life on Earth. 

Today, Earth Day, 22nd April 2020 marks only a few months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the fashion system is shattered. And yet many of us feel that this is a dress rehearsal for a still more existential threat: climate change, which the scientific community gives us less than a decade to address. 

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